On the eve of the Glorious Feast of the Nativity, six Coptic Orthodox Christians were martyred in a new wave of sectarian violence against Coptic Christians in Egypt when three gunmen fired automatic weapons at them after they exited Holy Virgin Mary Coptic Orthodox Church in Nag Hammadi after the Divine Liturgy on the Feast.
The names of the martyrs are as follows: Zakaria Toma, Mina Helmy Said, Bishoy Farid Labib, Boula Atef, Ayman Zakaria Hanna, and Banoub Kamal.
The martyrdoms were widely reported in the news media, including the following accounts:[Guardian Unlimited] Egypt gunmen kill seven after Coptic Christmas mass [NPR] At Least 7 Killed After Coptic Christmas Mass In Egypt [AFP] Gunmen kill six Egyptian Copts [Zenit News Agency] Drive-By Shooting Kills 6 Egyptian Christians [USA Today] Egyptians riot after 7 killed in church attack [Guarian.co.uk] Six Coptic Christians and Muslim police officer killed in Egypt drive-by shooting (includes graphic video of the aftermath) [AsiaNews.it] The Vatican with the Coptic Patriarch: United in face of oppression [UPI] Copt killings heighten Christian alarm [Al Masry Al Youm] Shadow of violence, displacement looms over Christian holidays in Upper Egypt [Canada.com] Italy condemns ‘horrific’ violence against Egyptian Copts [NYTimes] Copts Protest In South Egypt After Fatal Shootings
The Diocese strongly condemns this criminal act of senseless violence and persecution against innocent Coptic Christians. His Grace Bishop Serapion has spoken out against these attacks in an audio message that can be downloaded from this site.
May the Lord accept the sacrifice of these martyrs and strengthen all Christian faithful enduring persecution in Egypt and throughout the world.